Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

We’re actually having an OTP this week.
The last two Thursdays have been festival days (Yamim Tovim), and that means no blogging, and thus no comment moderation to aprove trackbacks.
At any rate, you all know how it works.
Link to this post, and send a trackback, and your links will show up at the end of the post.
Also, I’m hosting the New Blog Showcase on 8 May.
in order to qualify, blogs must be three months old or newer.
If you want to participate, please send all submissions to arush06 [at] earthlink [dot] net.
You can also use the multi-carnival submission form to submit posts.
I hope to be able to include lots of new blogs in the post, and all blogs included will be linked and trackbacked by me.
All I require is that you return the favor.
Everybody enjoy, and feel free to take as much advantage of the free exposure as you want.

As seen at:
The New Blog Showcase,
Linkfest Haven,
TMH’s Bacon Bits,
Quietly Making Noise,
and

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Associated Press

Apr 23, 2006 10:56 AM (ET)

apnews.myway.com//article/20060423/D8H5PBIO0.html

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) – Del Mar College students now have to use
computers outside the school’s system if they want to visit the
popular Web
site MySpace.com.

The community college has blocked the site in response to complaints
about
sluggish Internet speed on campus computers.

An investigation found that heavy traffic at MySpace.com was eating up
too
much bandwidth, said August Alfonso, the school’s chief of information
and
technology. Forty percent of daily Internet traffic at the college
involved
the site, he said.

“This was more about us being able to offer Web-based instruction, and
MySpace.com was slowing everything down,” President Carlos Garcia
said.

MySpace.com – a social networking hub with more 72 million members –
allow
users to post searchable profiles that can include photos of
themselves and
such details as where they live and what music they like.

Paul Martinez, 20, is a frequent visitor to MySpace.com and finds the
site
to be addictive. Restricting access to the site could be a good idea,
he said.

“The library is pretty much full with people on MySpace, and with them
banning it you won’t have anything to distract you,” he said.

Some though, disagree with Del Mar College’s decision.

“We pay for school and the resources that are used,” said Zeke Santos,
20.
“It’s our choice, we’re the ones paying for our classes. If we pass or
fail, it’s up to us.”

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Story last modified Fri Apr 21 05:30:35 PDT 2006

More spam is now relayed from Asia than any other continent, according to the latest research from security company Sophos.

And all the while I thought Europe was responsible.

Asia accounts for 42.8 percent of the spam received by Sophos’ global spam monitoring network, with North America in second place with 25.6 percent, the
company said on Thursday.

Two years ago, North America was responsible for more than half of the world’s spam, Sophos said. Now North and South America combined don’t come close
to Asia’s percentage, said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at the security provider.
Cluley added that Europe is also becoming a major relayer of spam and now transmits almost as much as North America, with 25 percent. “I won’t be surprised
if Europe overtakes North America next month,” he said.

On a country-by-country basis, the U.S. still relays most spam, with 23.1 percent. China and Hong Kong come second with 21.9 percent of global spam, while
South Korea is third at 9.8 percent.

China has many computers running older versions of Microsoft Windows, which contributes to the levels of spam, as machines running older versions of the operating
system are more easily exploited by spammers.
South Korea is a particularly tempting target for spammers, as a result of its advanced technology infrastructure and the economic rewards of setting up
networks of zombie computers, or Botnets Sophos said.

“South Korea has a fantastic Internet structure with immensely fast connections, and so it is a goldmine for spammers wanting to create botnets,” Cluley
said.

A ZDNet UK research report released this week found that despite advances made in security technology, there has been little or no reduction in the time IT professionals are spending trying to protect
their business systems from issues such as spam and viruses.
This is why the leaches responsible for clogging up the ‘net with spam really need to be taken out and shot once convicted.
They’re doing nothing but causing lots of problems for everyone.
“The top 10 viruses in the past 10 months are really old, which suggests the human race isn’t winning the war against viruses and spam,” Cluley said. “Some
people just simply aren’t bothered, and they are the ones bombarding the rest of us.”

However, Cluley said that Microsoft has made some big differences with XP Service Pack 2. The security-themed update to Windows has made it harder for hackers
to break into Windows systems, because a rudimentary firewall and automatic updates are enabled by default, he said.
in other words, Microsoft is holding the hand of every clueless consumer who doesn’t have enough sense to protect their shiny new computer from the bastards responsible for making our lives difficult.
There needs to be some sort of penalty for that kind of stupidity.
Antivirus company McAfee agreed that security vendors and cybercriminals were locked into a stalemate.

“It’s almost like a game of chess,” said Greg Day, security analyst at McAfee. “Spammers try to put our customers in check. We put pieces on the board to
block them, then they make their next move,” he added.

McAfee and Sophos agreed that spam was unlikely to disappear, and called for Internet service providers, businesses and home users to run antispam software.
I can’t believe people still have to be told to do something that simple.
Haven’t people figured out that they have to take an active role in protecting themselves from the junk email they’re complaining about flooding their inboxes?

ISPs have traditionally been reluctant to block any kind of content, although most of the major players now have some form of antivirus protection for their
customers.

“It’s an issue we’ve been working on,” Day said. “Every person has to protect their own space. But there’s a lot of common sense in moving a security level
up into the cloud,” or in the space surrounding users and ISPs, Day added.

McAfee and Sophos also applauded the recent arrests of spammers, but said that more needed to be done in terms of international law enforcement cooperation.

“When the prosecutions hit the streets, there was a visible downtrend in spam. But these aren’t global laws. It’s a step in the right direction, but there’s
definitely scope to work on this,” Day said.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

By Patrik Jonsson | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
ATLANTA – To critics of the administration’s immigration policies, the Department of Homeland Security sent out a strong message this week: Current laws
can discourage illegal immigrants and those who hire them.

On Wednesday, federal immigration officials stormed light manufacturing facilities in Atlanta and 41 other US locales, arresting more than 1,100 suspected
illegal immigrants as well as people believed to have hired them.

Impacts of immigration reform

On Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced a refocusing of resources that would target employers “harboring aliens for illegal
advantages.” The initiative is an attempt to go after such employers with the same intensity applied to other criminal organizations.

“[Wednesday’s arrests] are symbolically very important and may suggest either a testing of this particular variation of immigration policy or it may indicate
a movement in a more punitive direction to try to prevent or limit the inflow of undocumented workers,” says Dan Cornfield, a Vanderbilt University sociologist
and editor of the “Work and Occupations” journal. “It’s a message that the US, right now, won’t condone that type of employer behavior.”

The massive raids on Wednesday netted 1,187 arrests, more than all illegal immigrants arrested last year.

In 2005, officials arrested 150 suspected illegal immigrants, mostly at North Carolina military installations. Just over 100 people have been arrested this
year in smaller stings, one at a Missouri construction site, the other at a New Jersey car wash.

Arrests timed to announcement

Wednesday’s arrests were apparently timed to an announcement by Mr. Chertoff and the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Julie Myers, in Washington
on Thursday.

Secretary Chertoff said the effort is aimed at those who are “exploiting illegal aliens” and “who adopt as a business model the systematic violation of
immigration laws.” The federal government will “make sure we come down as hard as possible.”

The hiring of undocumented immigrants was the focus of legislation passed by the House of Representatives last year, including increased penalties for those
who break the law and a national system for electronically verifying worker status.

The federal government is making other, quieter efforts to respond to the public outcry over the surge in illegal immigration during the decade.

Atlanta recently saw the arrival of 70 extra federal agents to clear a backlog of naturalization requests, some going back 10 years. It’s all part of a
quiet movement on the federal government to heed public outcry, some say.

“There’s little doubt that something is going to happen, because the public is demanding it now,” says Maritza Pichon, executive director of the Latin American
Association in Atlanta.

Though there are some “bad actors” who exploit workers and the law, most businesses that hire illegals are complying with federal law, industry groups say.
The problem is that many illegals carry fraudulent documentation. New rules will tighten up requirements on employers.

Stricter enforcement “is an effort to create an environment that allows broader reforms to move forward,” says Craig Regelbrugge, co-chair of the Agriculture
Coalition for Immigration Reform in Washington.

But “I’d rather see resources short-term going into [battling] organized human smuggling and exploitation as opposed to putting all of America’s dairy farms
out of business that have an immigrant workforce and that have met their responsibilities under the law,” he says.

Parallels with prohibition

“This situation is not much different than the prohibition era,” he adds. “You have well intended and poorly conceived laws that spawn organized criminal
activity and make lawbreakers out of otherwise contributing and law-abiding people.”

Others see it as a piecemeal attempt by a White House and Congress who have been negligent in addressing a problem that has developed in front of Americans’
eyes over the past 10 years.

“In a world where illegals can register kids for school, where state police stop them on speeding violations and don’t tell federal authorities, the reality
is it’s very difficult for the federal government to do this alone,” says Peter Morici, a labor economist at the University of Maryland in College Park.
“Politicians are very happy to hammer on employers, but they’re not willing to take actions within their grasp” to pass comprehensive reform, he says.

The arrests Wednesday, which spanned nine states, netted hundreds of rank-and-file workers as well as seven current and former executives of IFCO Systems,
a manufacturer of crates and pallets. The executives were charged with harboring and transporting and encouraging illegal workers to reside in the US.
Because it was called a “criminal investigation,” Ms. Pichon says there are few signs that such investigations are likely to target undocumented day laborers.

What’s problematic for politicians is that Americans are torn over whether to uproot what are usually solid, hardworking families or demand a law-abiding
society, immigration experts say.

But few observers believe this week’s action represents more than a drop in the bucket in the battle to stem the flow of illegal immigration.

“If you’re talking about people coming into the US, the stream of immigrants, both legal and illegal, will continue, because these the need for economic
and social improvement overrides any fears” of arrest, says Rudy Rodriguez, a professor at the University of North Texas in Denton.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

April 13, 2006

THERE WAS ANTIQUITIES DEALER Frieda Nussberger-Tchacos, coming off like an angel on the National Geographic Channel’s special TV program on the Gospel of
Judas. “I think I was chosen by Judas to rehabilitate him,” says Tchacos, who bought the 1,700-year-old papyrus. “Judas was asking me to do something for
him.”

Tchacos was doing something for herself as well. She had paid $300,000 for the papyrus and — despite concerns that it might have been looted and thus had
illegally entered the shadowy world of private antiquities dealing — resold it to her lawyer for $1.5 million plus half the proceeds from any future use.
National Geographic didn’t tell that part of Tchacos’ story.

Nor did National Geographic inform viewers that it paid $1 million for the right to publicize the papyrus, and that a portion of the proceeds from the show
and two related books would go to the lawyer and, through him, to Tchacos, whose past includes a suspended sentence for possession of looted antiquities.

The Gospel of Judas tells a riveting story that many people find new. It says that Jesus asked Judas to betray him, thus setting the Passion into motion.
But the gospel’s provenance shows that some things don’t change in a couple of millenniums — except for inflation. Thirty pieces of silver then, or $1.5
million now: It’s still about money.

There are laws against trafficking in antiquities whose legal ownership cannot be documented. So Tchacos’ lawyer, Mario Jean Roberty, could not sell the
actual papyrus. Instead, he came up with the thoroughly modern concept of selling the content instead, and he found a taker in National Geographic.

Ordinarily, the discovery of something like the Judas gospel would be announced in a scholarly publication as a probable addition to the Gnostic Gospels
— early Christian writings that were rejected by the church hierarchy. Instead, National Geographic gave it a public splash that rang more of commercial
zing than scholarly thoughtfulness, with a glitzy TV special, two books and an exhibit timed for the week before Easter.

The papyrus was breathlessly described as possibly turning Christianity on its head. And the codex is an exciting archeological find. But the concept of
Judas playing out a role that he perceives as Jesus’ desire isn’t particularly new, as anyone who ever watched “Jesus Christ Superstar” can attest.

The National Geographic Society’s involvement did help restore the papyrus and bring it to public light — and back to Egypt. But the society’s willingness
to cut deals over a find whose legality is unclear, without being forthright about its role, its associates or the money involved, adds a legitimate sheen
to the shady world of illegal antiquities dealing and helps sustain that unsavory market.

I would also like to add that this find isn’t going to turn Christianity on its head.
The Gnostic Gospels didn’t do it, and neither did the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The Gospel of Judas was written far too late to do that, and those who believe that this new gospel will be the undoing of Christianity forget that Christianity is based largely on faith.
In other words, the main tenets of Christianity, (that Jesus died for the sins of mankind, rose from the dead, and is now in heaven, interceding on behalf of those who accept him as their personal savior), are entirely based on the faith of his followers, which is based on what is written in the New Testament.
None of these tenets can be proven or disproven.
Whether or not Judas was commissioned specifically by Jesus to set his Passion in motion is completely irrelevant.